The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has made the case for diversification of the country’s revenue base away from crude oil.
The governor, while speaking to journalists in Benin City, called for a quick diversification of the nation’s economy to increase non-oil revenue.
Obaseki said: “Before the Civil War, we had no crude oil: The regions relied on the resources that they had and the government was run based on taxation, which was derived from the regions and production, particularly agricultural production in the regions.
“In the last 40 years or so, crude oil came and replaced those economic activities and earnings. So, we now run a federation relying almost exclusively on crude oil. For a country that is still hoping on crude oil, it’s only a question of time and pretending and doing all sorts of interesting and financial gymnastics to keep it going; it’s only a question of time.”
Noting the need for leaders to listen and work, always, in the interest of the people, Obaseki said: “When they say government, what they really mean is us; it’s about how we engage with the citizens.
“The people in government think they are better and know more than the citizens. When you say something, they disagree with you because they think they are in power and know more than you.
“We; officials of government, civil servants and politicians, because we are government, think that we know better than the people. But it’s a fallacy, because it’s the taxes these people pay from their own economic activities that will sustain us going into the future.”
“It is their sweat that will pay our salaries; they cannot be foolish for them to be producing the resources that keep us. Therefore, our emphasis must be on them; we have to keep them alive.
“That is why the government must create an enabling environment for the citizens to thrive, so that from their wealth, the government can be sustained,” he added.